When it comes to sharpening your talent acquisition skills, one of the most important areas to brush up on is optimizing your social media recruiting strategy.
It’s a key recruitment best practice, thanks to the way social media can boost awareness of your brand and amplify roles to a huge audience you might not otherwise reach with traditional recruiting.
But like any initiative worth doing, it’s also a challenge. Particularly in a small HR team in which you’re juggling internal initiatives with active recruiting, you probably don’t have much time to churn out TikTok videos, create live streams, or write thought leadership essays on LinkedIn.
So how can you create a manageable social media recruiting strategy, no matter the size of your team?
In this post, we’ll run through eight ideas for creating a solid social media recruiting strategy and provide examples of companies doing them right.
Table of contents
- What is social media recruitment?
- The benefits of using social media for recruiting
- 8 ideas for your next social media recruiting strategy
- 5 social media recruitment examples
- ✅ Find the right social media manager for your team with TestGorilla
What is social media recruitment?
Social media recruitment refers to (you guessed it) the strategies you apply to social media for hiring. It consists of the specific measures you use when actively recruiting, like boosting job postings on LinkedIn, sharing a new role on Instagram, or posting jobs as tweets. This includes any social media activity you use in addition to other recruitment tools.
But it also refers to the broader social media strategies you use before you even have a role to fill. This includes networking with potential talent, researching job candidates, and boosting your employer brand so that people want to work with you in the first place.
Yes, using LinkedIn ads to boost your job opening counts as a social media recruiting strategy. But so does connecting with promising individuals online, conducting an Instagram Live Q&A about working for your company, and posting feel-good content to your Facebook page.
Social media recruitment is one of the most effective strategies modern recruiters have for attracting top talent. If you’re already on board, skip straight to the ideas section. But if you’d like to see some justification, keep reading.
The benefits of using social media for recruiting
The benefits of using social platforms for recruiting are mostly pretty obvious. Physical job ads are virtually extinct, and online job boards are often either full of spam or simply contain too much information for candidates to use easily.
Candidates now prefer to job search from inside their existing social networks. A report by CareerArc found that 86% of job seekers used social media in their job search, even applying directly from social sites.
That makes social sites the best places to reach large numbers of candidates and more carefully selected ones – and to do so with more targeted messaging. You can even measure your audience’s reaction to your content, generating actionable insights about your audience and what resonates with them.
This means that whereas you might have previously had to spend all your budget on one physical ad, you can now spread your spending across multiple audiences, getting a greater return on your investment.
The nature of social media also makes it excellent for attracting passive candidates, professionals who aren’t actively looking for a new job but could be persuaded by a great job opportunity.
Finally, it’s great for building your employer brand and sharing news about your company culture.
8 ideas for your next social media recruiting strategy
We’ve described the benefits of a good social media recruiting strategy, but how can you tap into the ones that will make the biggest difference for your organization?
Here are our eight tips.
8 ideas for your next social media strategy: summary table
|Idea for your next social media recruiting strategy||Example actions|
|1. Focus on amplifying your employer brand||Show the community behind your logo and brand name by shining the spotlight on team members; Don’t just post about open roles – provide insights into other roles|
|2. Do NOT post the same thing to every platform||Use platforms like TikTok and Instagram to post call-outs for applications for internships and other early-career roles; Post the same core content to each platform, but tweak the messaging and formatting for each one|
|3. Use short videos to engage passive candidates||Post videos of your office space or fun features of your working environment; Use videos to introduce the team or make lighthearted jokes about working life|
|4. Reshare employee-generated content||Reuse or reshare videos that your employees are already making; Reshare your employees’ posts when they celebrate their achievements on LinkedIn|
|5. Share thought leadership about your industry and niche||Create a podcast in which your team pushes forward interesting topics about your industry; Encourage your senior leadership to build a following by sharing their insights on LinkedIn|
|6. Display your good candidate experience||Share your HR team’s tips for reducing the time-to-offer; Make job descriptions and salary expectations easily shareable, and emphasize that you do this when other organizations don’t|
|7. Show off the impact of your work||Share testimonials from customers on your social media; Publish data about the good your work does for customers and the wider community; Invite senior leadership to reflect on how their work has pushed the conversation forward in your industry, and reshare this to your socials|
|8. Use analytics and retargeting tools to your advantage||Retarget job ads at potential employees who have clicked through to your application page but not submitted an application; Use retargeting data to notice at which point candidates drop out of the pipeline and improve your processes accordingly|
1. Focus on amplifying your employer brand
If you came to this blog post thinking about how social media could help you fill an open role, the suggestion to first focus on amplifying your brand might seem like a distraction. However, displaying a good employer brand is essential in today’s recruitment landscape.
In the CareerArc study cited above, 82% of employees said they considered their employer’s brand and reputation before applying for a job.
If you can show that there is a community behind your logo and brand name, people will want to work for you and keep an eye out for open positions.
This can be even more important depending on where in the world you’re hiring. For example, if you’re hiring team members in Brazil or South Africa, your social media platforms will be one of the first places they go to learn about your company.
Posting about your employer brand works best when you align your messaging with your company values. For instance, at TestGorilla, we’re big believers in putting talent first and supporting each other to solve problems.
We translate this onto social media by putting the focus on our team members and showing how their unique talents make them a perfect fit for their roles. Here’s an example from our Instagram, where we regularly display the skills and value of our team members with “Meet the team” posts.
Finally, if you use your social media profiles to build your brand – and not just advertise for open roles – you can build an interested audience so that when an open role does come up, you’ll have a sea of potential candidates ready to hear about it.
2. Do NOT post the same thing to every platform
This is a pet peeve of any social media manager. Although there is some overlap between the type of content you can post on each platform – for example, between Instagram Reels and TikTok – each has a different tone and user demographic.
For instance, platforms like Instagram and TikTok are generally used by younger audiences (e.g., Millennials and Gen Z), making them ideal places to reach passive early-career candidates or mount call-outs for internships and entry-level roles.
However, if you’re looking for more experienced candidates, LinkedIn and Facebook are your best bets.
Don’t worry – this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to create completely new assets and messaging for each platform. If you’re short on time or resources, you can simply tweak your messaging for each network.
Though Facebook and LinkedIn are great places to talk about your positive work environment, the approach you take might be different for each:
|Tone||Personal, for connecting with friends and family and browsing things of interest to you||Professional, for connecting with colleagues and potential employers and engaging in discussions in your industry|
|Example post||“The team had a great time at our yearly retreat in Barcelona this weekend, which was complete with yoga, sightseeing, and even the occasional work meeting!”||“Even in a hybrid work environment, nothing beats face-to-face connection. That’s why this weekend, our global team got together in Barcelona for two days of team bonding and brainstorming for the year ahead.”|
|Differences||Don’t tag employees’ personal Facebook accounts; Pitch the benefits of working for your business more subtly||Use a more professional tone; You can tag relevant employees’ accounts, for instance, the HR team that planned the retreatYou can show your point of view as an employer more overtly|
3. Use short videos to engage passive candidates
Bite-size video content is a great way to draw in passive candidates and give them a quick idea of what your brand is all about. It’s particularly effective on TikTok and Instagram, where users are accustomed to seeing content from brands alongside friends and family in their feeds.
We’re not necessarily suggesting you make a dedicated video for each open role. Instead, you can think bigger. Video works well for big call-outs, for instance, about internships.
Making videos that communicate your company’s personality can be great for building your employer brand. For example, you can post videos of:
- Fun features of your office (breakout spaces or free lunches)
- Well-being initiatives, like sports days, bake sales, or friendly competitions between employees
- “Meet the team” videos that show the strong bonds employees have with each other
All of this can make people more aware of your brand as an employer. With that said, it’s essential to be realistic about your capabilities.
As even a casual viewer will know, TikTok is an especially time-consuming platform. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you think video could be powerful for your brand, you can either hire a great social media manager (or even a dedicated video content creator) or pay particular attention to our next point.
4. Reshare employee-generated content
Involve current employees in your efforts to use social media for hiring. This is a good practice no matter your social media goals but especially when it comes to your social recruiting strategy. Nothing feels more honest to candidates than hearing about the organization from actual employees.
Indeed, studies show that job seekers rank current employees as the most trusted source for information about a business.
Start by sharing content that’s already there. Are your employees making TikToks that reference your workplace or the work you do? Does your senior leadership have a following giving out management tips?
If so, you can share their posts to your channels and vice versa or invite them to create content on your behalf, for instance, a “day in the life” of their role.
You could also ask current employees to post open jobs to their network. This gives a more personable touch than an ad from the company profile, and hiring from within your employee networks can also be quicker. In fact, employee referrals are five times more effective for filling roles than external hiring.
5. Share thought leadership about your industry and niche
If you’ve followed the above tips, you’ll have shown potential candidates why it’s fun to work for you. Now it’s time to show them why it’s aspirational professionally.
Sharing thought leadership and establishing your organization as a leader in your industry strengthens your proposition with clients and customers and positions you as a logical next step for ambitious candidates.
Social Chain Agency is a great example of this. Its founder Steven Bartlett built a huge brand around the agency and now runs the uber-successful podcast “Diary of a C.E.O.”
The agency values being “first, fearless, and ever-changing” in the area of social media marketing, and its social media frequently presents examples of the business pushing the conversation forward on topics such as:
- Social advertising
- Rising innovative platforms
- How brands can use different platforms (psst, take notes)
6. Display your good candidate experience
Letting candidates know that you provide a good candidate experience ahead of time is important. In fact, 68% of employees believe the hiring process reflects how the organization treats its people, so it’s as much a part of your employer brand as your remote work policy or well-being initiatives.
Show off your good candidate experience by communicating to potential candidates that you value their time and have a painless recruiting and onboarding process. For example, emphasize that you don’t expect them to write a cover letter or put together a resume. Instead, show them that you take a skills-based hiring approach by using pre-employment testing.
Some more examples of how you can shout about candidate experience best practices that impress job seekers include posting about:
- Why you include salary expectations in the job description
- What you’re doing to minimize the time candidates have to wait for their offer
- How you reduce bias in your hiring process
The finance app Cleo presents a great example of a business walking the walk in this area. Its salary and career progression structures are all freely available for candidates to view online, and its social media reflects a commitment to leading discussions on these topics, helping it stand out to candidates.
7. Show off the impact of your work
You want to show candidates that you are not only a fun and smart choice professionally but also that you can help them find fulfillment in their work. Do this by using your social media to show off your work and its impact on your clients and the wider community, for instance, by:
- Resharing testimonials from happy customers
- Publishing data about the good your work does for customers and the wider community
- Inviting senior leadership to reflect on how their work has pushed the conversation forward in their industry and sharing this to your socials
This helps candidates connect your brand with meaningful work while also broadcasting your values so that you can find culture-add candidates who align with your values, not just culture fits who are personable at interviews.
Attracting candidates who are the right culture add has long-term benefits for your recruitment. SHRM research shows that hiring people based on superficial characteristics like their likeability can lead to:
- Poor innovation
- Lack of multiple perspectives
8. Use analytics and retargeting tools to your advantage
Perhaps you’re at a point in your social media recruiting efforts where you’re posting regularly about what it’s like to work for your company and encouraging your current employees to circulate open roles within their networks. And maybe that’s the limit of what your resources will enable you to do.
However, if you invest in social advertising, you’ll be able to supercharge your hiring efforts. Here are our top tips for using ads to extend your reach on social media sites:
- Boost posts that are already doing well organically to engage a wider audience.
- Use A/B testing when running ads to find the content that works best for each audience.
- Make sure your messaging translates across all your assets, not just your copy. For example, if you claim to be committed to diversity, ensure your visual assets reflect this. That means showing racial, age, gender, and ability diversity.
- Finally, use retargeting to your advantage, just as you would when generating sales leads or pushing e-commerce products. If a candidate makes it to the job description page but doesn’t click “Apply,” don’t let them drop out of the funnel. Most social media users are used to and even embrace retargeted ads.
5 social media recruitment examples
We’ve already included some notable examples above, but here’s a deeper dive into real business activity on social media and what we love about it.
1. TestGorilla on LinkedIn
It’s obvious by now that we are passionate about skills-based hiring. We believe it’s better for businesses and candidates than traditional hiring practices. And we don’t just talk the talk; we walk the walk.
We use our platforms to shout about the benefits of skills-based hiring for recruiters and job seekers and share our own stories of how skills-based hiring has helped us grow.
Since we operate in the HR and recruiting space, LinkedIn is a great platform to spread our message. It’s a hub of discussion for issues around work, and we use it to our advantage – for example, by sharing stories of how skills-based hiring helped us pass the 100-employee milestone.
2. Salesforce on Facebook
Facebook can sometimes be tricky for professional topics. If a LinkedIn conversation is like work drinks, Facebook is more like a barbecue – work might come up, but you wouldn’t talk about it to your neighbor the way you would to your boss.
Salesforce toes the line nicely. It posts thought leadership that is of general interest even outside of a professional setting, often with an inspiring message, like the post below on women in leadership.
3. HubSpot on Instagram
HubSpot is all about helping organizations grow by providing management tools that improve efficiency. In theory, this better management produces a better experience for employees. To raise awareness of this, HubSpot produces a lot of content about “Good Boss Energy,” or, as the company abbreviates it, GBE.
By branding a key talking point for employees in this way, HubSpot keeps its content fun and lighthearted while also speaking volumes about the company culture. Crucially, it positions itself on the employee’s side: an attractive trait in a potential employer.
4. Google on YouTube
The Google brand is associated with learning and having the world’s information at your fingertips, and this permeates its employer brand.
Google is known for hiring talented people and having a creative and innovative work environment, and it creates informative and educational videos that run the gamut from productivity tips to remote working discussions to what it’s like to work in different teams at Google.
It’s aspirational, informative, and friendly – qualities we’ve described in the best practices above.
5. The Washington Post on TikTok
The Washington Post is a great example of what happens when you invest in a young team that “gets” the platform they’re working with and when that platform is a great fit for your product.
The news outlet has a small team of dedicated TikTok content creators whom their audience gets to know through their videos.
This not only helps the long-standing publication gain currency and build trust and engagement with a younger audience but also instills an awareness of that organization as a forward-thinking one where young people can make their careers.
Hire someone who can take your social media recruiting strategy to the next level
We’ve shown you how you can supercharge your social media recruiting strategy by:
- Emphasizing what’s special about your employer brand
- Tailoring your messaging to different platforms
- Being smart about how you generate your content
- Positioning your company as fun, aspirational, and fulfilling to work for
But like we said, one person can’t do all this alone, especially not alongside other responsibilities like mediating disputes between team members or setting up amazing well-being initiatives.
You need to hire a brilliant social media manager to make the most of your social media presence and use it to recruit ideal candidates across the business.
Start by using our social media management test to find a candidate with the skills you need to make your social media recruiting strategy a reality.
- Shetelboim, Ronen. (September 2, 2015). “7 Benchmark Metrics to Help You Master Your Recruiting Funnel”. Jobvite. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
- Peachey, Josh. (December 5, 2019). “Social Chain’s Katy Leeson on company culture and staying ahead in today’s ever-changing social media landscape”. Prolific North. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
- Evans, Lindsay; Hennigan, Mel. (October 31, 2013). “Does Hiring for ‘Culture Fit’ Perpetuate Bias?”. SHRM. Retrieved November 29, 2022.